Is industry experience enough to start a business?

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The fact that you have 5, 10 or even 20 years' experience in a corporate environment is no guarantee that you can make it as a successful startup.

Vincent Joyner, CEO of Zazida Institute of Entrepreneurship, says industry knowledge is but one factor that can contribute to a successful venture but that a small business is considerably different to a corporate setup.

"Many people from the corporate environment think their business will be a mini version of corporate business. It's not," he says. "The skills they built up in a corporate environment may well to lead them to fail. More times than not, they may be good at administering an existing business model with a track record rather than creating a new business model from scratch."

Vincent suggests that entrepreneurs acquire the following set of skills:

  1. You need to understand the time it takes to build entrepreneurial skills. These include the ability to negotiate with customers and suppliers, cost products and services correctly, managing the various stage of the business and building partnerships.
  2. Finding the right business model for the business idea is critical. More often than not, this is dependent on identifying the gap in the market that the business idea is looking to exploit.
  3. Managing a small business is far more complex than operating a larger enterprise as the startup is more dependent on the skills and input of the entrepreneur. The small, daily problems can cause significant stress that can reduce the entrepreneur's capacity to deal with these problems.
  4. Get the right team around you, either as partners, employees or service providers.

Key takeaway: Entrepreneurship is about more than knowing an industry. Knowing how to launch a startup, getting the sales and cash flow moving are key.

 

 
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